How To Avoid Discovery in Divorce: A Complete Guide

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By Divorce & Finance

How to avoid discovery in divorce what to expectIf you find yourself asking “How to avoid discovery in divorce?” then a skilled attorney can guide you on this path. Discovery is a process that most divorces undergo, but depending on your case, it might not be necessary.

This article will discuss what discovery in divorce is, the steps of discovery, and so much more. Read this guide to learn everything you need to know about divorce discovery and how to avoid it.

– What’s the Best Way To Avoid Discovery in Divorce?

The best way to avoid discovery in divorce is by settling the differences between you and your ex-spouse outside the court. Instead of both of you asking your divorce lawyers to negotiate on your behalf, you can have a third party mediator to help you out.

This third party mediator will help determine the terms of your separation that will be transferred to the final divorce agreement. The process of working with a third party is referred to as mediation, and the mediator is often a trained individual who helps you work through your disagreements and see each other’s points of view.

You and your ex-partner must agree on different things, including property division, alimony, child support, and child custody. Once you agree to everything related to your divorce, the court will grant the divorce, allowing you to avoid the discovery process. If your ex-partner does not attend court and engage in the divorce process, the divorce will still go through and you will not have to undergo the discovery process.

– What Does Divorce Discovery Mean?

A divorce discovery is a typical process in most divorces that is intended to collect information about the involved parties. This ensures that both parties have a clear understanding of the financial elements of their marriage, and a lot of information is discovered during this process.

Some information that will come up during this process include employment records, criminal records, financial documents and records, receipts, and driving history. The information shared during this process allows the judge and lawyers to understand a couple’s finances better and appropriately analyze issues like childcare responsibilities and property division.

The process is often labor intensive and demands that the involved parties are honest and cooperative. The attorneys are responsible for requesting information and documents from the other party and looking for evidence that can be used during the trial.

They will typically analyze the evidence collected during the process to understand what may happen should the case proceed to trial. You must hire a lawyer who is well-versed in divorce discovery and is familiar with the family court.

While most divorce cases do not make it to trial, an experienced attorney will prepare your case like it is bound for trial as it ensures they have the best way of negotiating a favorable resolution.

– Divorce Discovery Duration

The kind of discovery one of the involved parties is asking for will establish how far back the discovery will go. All financial assets and income are typically relevant in divorce cases, so the discovery can go as far as three to five years.

You can go further back when you have reasonable cause to make the request and can even subpoena bank accounts to get more information, especially if you have no access to the bank accounts. This process is much easier when you work with an attorney since they can work with other experts and help you uncover all the relevant information.

– When It Occurs in a Divorce Process

A divorce discovery happens during the pre-trial stage of your divorce. This process helps your attorney learn more about your divorce case and identify what information they can use should the case proceed to trial.

The discovery process can help you and your ex-partner reach an equitable and fair resolution. While it is a necessary process in most divorces, your attorney will help you determine whether or not it is necessary and walk you through how you can avoid it if you do not want to go through it.

– Divorce Discovery Rules

You must be as honest as possible with your attorney. Being honest with your attorney ensures they are thorough at their job and develop the best strategies. When you lie or do not disclose information, your attorney cannot do their job well and protect your interests. Nothing is worse than getting caught understating your income, hiding assets, or lying during the discovery process.

Whatever you do, remember that anything and everything will likely come out at some point during the discovery process, so you should just be honest. Take note that discovery after divorce is final and can only apply when you file a motion requesting the court to allow you to reopen discovery or get consent from the other party to conduct discovery.

– Benefits

It is not uncommon for some spouses to keep secrets from each other. A divorce discovery can be beneficial when a divorce is contentious, and it also helps uncover information that can help you reach a fair conclusion. Other benefits of a divorce discovery include the following:

  • It enables you to prepare for trial.
  • It gives you a clear picture of your situation.
  • It ensures you reach a fair settlement.

– Initiating a Divorce Discovery

Discovery starts almost immediately after you file for divorce and is typically initiated by the attorney of either of the involved parties. A discovery can be lengthy or short, depending on how much you and your ex-partner cooperate.

Depending on your case, the process can also be rigid or informal. Your attorneys will typically request information through formal disclosures that eventually include requests for production, interrogatories, and admission of facts.

There is a time limit to answering the requests before depositions start. Your attorney can offer legal guidance on how to navigate discovery responses.

– What To Ask For in a Divorce Discovery

What you ask for in a divorce discovery will differ based on your circumstances. For example, what you ask for in a divorce discovery adultery will not be similar to what you ask for in a child custody discovery. The problems you need to solve will determine what you ask for in a divorce discovery.

Suppose you believe your ex-partner is hiding assets. In that case, you will have to consult your attorney about the best approach to reveal the assets. On the other hand, when seeking a fair division of assets, you must focus on different financial documents, including an estate plan, tax returns, and pay stubs.

It is best to be thorough when working through your discovery since your financial future is at stake. Your attorney can help guide you in what to ask for if you are uncertain of what you want.

– Cost

There is no standard cost of discovery in divorce. Your case and the specific facts surrounding it will decide how much the process will cost. Different factors can affect the cost of the process, including one of the involved parties refusing to provide the required information. A shorter process will be inexpensive, while a lengthy process will be costly.

Suppose your lawyers agree to exchange discovery informally, requesting and providing documents via mail without going to trial or involving the court. In that case, it can substantially reduce the cost of the process.

However, the circumstances of the case will determine the type of procedure that will be employed. Understanding the discovery process in divorce can help you lower your costs significantly.

Working with a professional lawyer during this process is best since they can help you avoid unnecessary costs.

– Divorce Discovery Attorney

Lawyers typically specialize in different practice areas, so you must hire a skilled attorney who works in a reputable law firm and has extensive experience in divorce cases. A skilled lawyer will help you through your entire divorce discovery process.

For instance, your lawyer will teach you how to answer divorce discovery questions, help you with interrogatories divorce adultery, help you navigate child custody if children are involved, and go over sample divorce discovery questions with you. Working with a lawyer will make the process less frustrating and easier to navigate since they are conversant with family law.

You must be forthcoming and honest with your lawyer so they can protect you and your interests. Without all the facts, a lawyer cannot help you, and they cannot protect you should a potential problem arise or be sprung upon them just before the trial.

What Are the Steps of a Divorce Discovery?

The steps of a divorce discovery include disclosures, interrogatories, admissions of fact, requests for production of documents, depositions, and subpoenas. Every divorce process is unique. It will help to have a divorce discovery checklist and work with a skilled divorce attorney to help make the process more straightforward.

A divorce discovery process is essentially an exchange of information. Here are the steps involved in a divorce discovery:

– Disclosures

This is the first step in a discovery divorce process, and it addresses what the involved parties must disclose during the divorce process. You will need to disclose information about your assets, debts, and information necessary to your children’s care, if any. You will also have to put down the name of the witness you will call during the proceedings.

– Interrogatories

These are written questions you must answer under penalty of perjury or under oath, which provide a way of collecting more information in a single place. Interrogatories have different sections, but they typically ask general questions about your background, such as your income, assets, education, retirement accounts, work history, and real estate holdings. It is best to consult your divorce lawyer when answering interrogatories.

– Admissions of Fact

The involved parties can send each other up to 25 discovery requests for admission, which are deemed admitted unless you respond by the deadline. In some instances, this is a way to get in statements that would otherwise be inadmissible, while in others, it is a way of collecting information.

In most cases, requests for admissions are for facts that can be detrimental to your case, so you must respond to them in time with clear statements that deny the listed statements. You must take admissions seriously since it is often difficult to get them overturned.

– Request for Production of Documents

This is a formal request allowing you to ask the other party to provide you with categories of documents or specific documents containing relevant information to your divorce.

Requests for the production of documents can seek a range of things that can be used during the case, including emails, videos, photographs, financial information, recorded or written statements, or any other person with information about your divorce.

The court can order the production of these documents and other sanctions if the other party ignores or refuses your discovery request.

– Depositions

Your lawyer will schedule a deposition after they have exchanged documents with the other party’s lawyer. Depositions are intended to give the lawyer more insight into how the witnesses will testify during trial and what they will say. The testimonies given during deposition are used to impeach a witness during the trial if they testify differently.

– Subpoenas

These are used to ask for information from entities or individuals who are not parties in the lawsuit. You can order two types of subpoenas, namely subpoena duces tecum and subpoena ad testificandum. The former demands that the entity or person receiving the subpoena present the documents requested in the subpoena, while the latter demands that they appear to testify.

FAQ

– What Happens if My Ex-partner Does Not Comply With the Discovery Request?

If your ex-partner does not comply with the discovery request, the judge can penalize them for not answering truthfully. They could also be fined, and in more serious instances, they could end up in jail. Not complying with the discovery request can have a detrimental effect on the process.

It is essential to comply with a discovery request since there are serious consequences for lying, responding late, or ignoring a discovery request.How to avoid discovery in divorce all you need to know

Conclusion

By understanding how to avoid discovery in divorce, you can shorten the duration of the process and save yourself the much-dreaded divorce-related hassle. Here are the takeaway points of the discussion:

  • The best way to avoid discovery during divorce is to settle divorce-related issues with your soon-to-be ex outside the court.
  • Since either party’s attorney may initiate discovery, it is essential to maintain an open communication line with your partner during the divorce process.
  • If a divorce is imminent, hire a divorce attorney and be as honest as possible with them throughout the divorce process.

Divorce can be a complicated and frustrating process for all the involved parties. You do not have to go through discovery if you do not want to, and a skilled lawyer can guide you on how to avoid discovery in divorce, so hiring a divorce lawyer with extensive experience working on similar cases will be best.

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Divorce & Finance